Earlier this morning, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) announced it has filed appeals of Turkey’s blackout of its YouTube video service at all three levels of the country’s courts. Google’s appeals are the latest in string of petitions putting legal pressure on the Turkish government following the now almost two week-long ban. The online video service was banned in Turkey after the posting of a recording that reportedly showed leading Turkish officials having a frank discussion concerning military operations in Syria.
Details on the YouTube blackout filings
According to anonymous sources at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the company filed the appeals on Friday in Turkey’s criminal, administrative and constitutional courts. In the administrative court appeal, Google’s lawyer’s are claiming that the block on YouTube is too broad, and the constitutional challenge is “based on freedom of speech,” explained one of the sources.
Turkey’s telecom regulation agency couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, according to the Wall Street Journal. There was also no one at the constitutional court authorized to speak with the press.
Spillover from Erdogan’s political battles
Turkey’s fiery Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been involved in political battles with various opponents for over a year now, and a number of analysts have pointed out that YouTube is really just a casualty in Erdogan’s battles with his political opponents. No one can make a reasonable argument that YouTube itself did anything wrong – the ban is simply a matter of Erdogan lashing out after he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Erdogan and his AK party garnered the most votes in a recent election of local officials, but their 40-45% plurality is by no means secure, and most political analysts agree that the ban on YouTube is part of Erdogan’s strategy to whip up nationalist fervor with an eye toward running in Turkey’s first direct presidential election in August of this year.